Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Steins;Gate - Episode 2

The first episode of Steins;Gate did a pretty good job of introducing us to its weird and crazy world, or more importantly to the seemingly deluded mind of Rintarou Okabe, aka Kyouma Hououin.  But, where does "Okarin"'s delusion end and reality begin?

That certainly seems like a pretty important question as this second instalment begins and Okabe finds himself standing before Kurisu Makise despite seeing her stabbed and murdered last episode - however, she's very much real here, which only raises further questions about the state of mind of the man we're viewing events through.  What's more, it's Makise who gives the lecture Okarin is attending, explaining to all present why time travel is impossible and shooting down all of Okabe's assertions to the contrary.

With that moment of shame out of the way, and a meeting with a couple of new characters later, Okabe returns to his apartment and heads online for some research in the hope of finding evidence of what he believes he saw previously - while he can't find anything of the sort he does stumble across something even more bizarre; a person online seemingly pretending to be John Titor.  Okarin goes to laugh this imposter off the message board he resides upon, only to find that he can't find anything about the John Titor story online, and even his books on the subject are gone.  Just what's going on?  Who knows, but things only become more intriguing when Okabe bumps into a rather odd girl who is searching for an IBM 5100 computer...

Having mentioned that I got a kick out of the John Titor reference in episode one of this series (and I know I'm not the only one, it's a fascinating story for Internet users of a certain age), it probably goes without saying that I'm even happier to see these references burrowing even deeper into Steins;Gate's plot for episode two - it lends an even weirder sheen to the show's mix of the absurd and reality, and somehow succeeds in mixing everything up in this world of delusion and normality more comprehensively.  Aside from that, this episode did suffer a little from the classic visual novel adaptation pitfall of throwing in loads of character introductions with no real point or strength behind them at this juncture, but ignoring that the conspiracy and craziness are building up nicely here and the potential for a fascinating series is readily apparent at this juncture without even verging on what you could call predictable story-telling.  Now, let's just hope it doesn't go all Chaos;Head on us...

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